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Sarasota City Officials Oppose Fish Farm Proposal For Gulf Of Mexico

The bill aims to designate the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as the lead federal agency for granting permits and overseeing projects.
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Offshore aquaculture uses fish cages similar to these pens in the ocean off the coast of Maine except they are submerged and moved into deeper water.

On the final day of public comment Tuesday, Sarasota City officials spoke out against a proposed fish farm off the coast of Sarasota.

Last summer, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a draft permit for a pilot aquacultureproject in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Sarasota City Commission on Monday unanimously approved sending a letter of opposition to the EPA.

Meanwhile, Holmes Beach City Commissioners this week passed a resolution stating their opposition to the project.

The floating fish farm would allow Kampachi Farms of Hawaii to raise 20,000 Almaco jack in a net pen in federal waters.

Environmentalists have expressed concern that the discharge of nitrogen and phosphorous would affect waters known for harmful algal blooms.

Proponents of offshore aquaculture say it is a sustainable way to boost the nation’s seafood supply. 

Kampachi Farms has conducted two offshore aquaculture trials in federal waters around Hawaii. The company has said those trials, “demonstrated the potential of open-ocean aquaculture to produce outstanding finfish, while having no significant impact on ocean ecosystems.”

If the EPA approves, the project also would need a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

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